Divers: Brenden, Peta & Mark
When I put this dive in the weekly mail out I had a few people ring me to ask if the Alma Doepel had sunk!! I can assure everyone that she is still floating – our task was to measure the ‘hog’ (concave curve of the keel) so that a cradle can be made that will fully support the weight of the hull when the ship is lifted from the water. This is all a part of the full restoration the Alma Doepel is receiving over the next few years.
I must say the water looked very uninviting as Brenden & I stood on the dock pondering what we had got out selves into. But we had told Peta we would help her, so that was what we were going to do. Our first task was to scrape the growth off the bottom of the keel. This proved very time consuming & it was decided if we were to complete our mission in one day then this had to be modified. Our next task was to tension a wire cable from stem to stern, this would allow us to measure from the cable to bottom of keel. Part 3 of the exercise was to do the measuring and record our work. On land this would have taken about 5 minutes to do. But under water, with 3 divers trying to work together, without communications and with less than 6 inches if visibility we were in the water for about 45 minutes. Once the job was completed & we had had our hot showers, packed up the dive kit & we were sitting the pub having a beer, we both agreed that it was in fact a fun days diving. Although I’m happy to admit that it was quite daunting when we first submerged into zero viz & had to feel our way around the large props and rudder and I’d hate to think of the quality of the water going through our regs.